Three Orthodox Jewish men have been cleared of assaulting a traffic warden after insisting they were carrying out a “citizen’s arrest”.
The men — Osher Freidman, 30, of South Tottenham; Benjamin Beigel, 25, and Yakov Nowogrodski, 26, both of Stoke Newington — were acquittted after a judge accepted they used reasonable force to detain Marvin Pond.
But Freidman, a car mechanic, was found guilty of a separate count of assault. He had denied the charge.
Stratford Magistrates Court heard that tempers had flared when Mr Pond attempted to issue a penalty notice to Freidman’s brother Mordechai as his car was parked on double yellow lines in Hackney, east London on January 19.
Judge Sonia Simms said Freidman had thrown the first punch at Mr Pond and handled the matter in an “unacceptable” way.
‘If you had taken a more reasonable approach this would not have escalated in the way that it did,’ the judge said.
The court heard that around “20 to 30” people had gathered around Mr Pond to detain him as word got out he had hit the Freidman brothers with his moped.
Mr Pond was confronted by the brothers, and prevented from leaving. He was said to have hit Mordechai and then the car in his attempt to get away.
He was also said to have hit Freidman who was standing behind the vehicle to “prevent him from leaving”, according to the judge.
Freidman pulled Mr Pond off his moped, pinned him to the ground and punched him as he lay there, the court heard.
Giving evidence, he said he had done so to “protect his brother”.
Mordechai, 32, was cleared of assault by beating last week after his lawyer, David Sonn, successfully argued there was no case to answer.
Delivering her verdicts on Wednesday, Judge Simms said: ‘There’s no doubt in my mind Mr Pond must have had no concept of what would later happen. I would like to think that applied to all the defendants also.
“Traffic wardens and enforcement officer encounter difficult tasks from disgruntled members of the public.
“Certainly Mr Pond is aware of that. Nevertheless they are public servants that should be able to do their job without being obstructed.
“He was attempting to carry out his duty. The way the matter was addressed by Osher Freidman was quite frankly unacceptable.”
Freidman was handed a conditional discharge of 12 months and ordered to pay costs of £625 and compensation to the victim of £175, totalling £800 to be paid within 28 days.